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Maister Henderson's volumm on Scottish Vernacular Leeterature, sir?
NORTH. I have, James, and a more admirable work it would be difficult to imagine. Such a happy combination of taste and learning is not too common nowadays. There are plenty of pedants on the one hand, like Mr Furnivall, and plenty of dilettanti on the other, like Mr Gosse; but not many who possess both learning and discrimination.
SHEPHERD. Is yon the Maister Gosse or Guse wha ance preshoomed to speak o “Mary Ferrier"? Mary Ferrier”? Haw! haw! haw!
NORTH. Yes; and he has committed a thousand other gross blunders for which a schoolboy would be scourged. But though the second generation of Blackwoodians has all but passed away, there has arisen a not wholly unworthy third. There are
SHEPHERD. Haud yer haun', Mr North. We’se no win hame till the morn's morn gin ye rin through the roll o' Maga's leevin' contreebutors. What says the knock? Surely it maun be time for a bit chack
[The clock strikes eleven. Enter on the very stroke Mr
AMBROSE, with the Board, Mons. CADET, King PEPIN,
the delicacies of the season. Mr Awmrose, ye're a sicht for sair e'en. Noo for the eisters! Man, but they're fine an' sappy.
[There is comparative silence in the Blue Parlour for three
quarters of an hour, while NORTH, SHEPHERD, and
SHEPHERD, Wi' a' my he'rt an’sowl, sir. That Glenlivet's as gude an’ mellow as iver touched a wizen. But, bless me, Mr De Quinshy, hoo's this? Ye mak' nae supper; ye're no' eatin' yer meat. Hae a piece turkey, sir? It's deleecious. Or a wee bit guse ? Nae guse?
Then alloo me to recommend a drap aipple-sass. It's extr'ordinar' fine flevvoured.
THE ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER. I think, Mr Hogg, I should uncommonly like to try an oyster. 'Tis a delicacy which the ancients prized very highly.
SHEPHERD. Man, it's a peety but what ye didna mak' yer mind up shuner, for they're a' clean gane. I feenished the last twa dizzen mysel'. Ay; ance show baudrons the road to the kirn an' ye may
whustle for the cream. But tak' a dram, Mr De Quinshy, a' the same.
I see fine by the blink o's e'e that Mr North has a toast to gie's. Pit awa’ thae peels, an' sook the whuskey doon. Mr Tickler an' me'll oxter ye hame gif needs be.
I have a toast in my mind to which I earnestly crave the attention of the whole company. The night goes on apace, and it will soon be time for us to separate.
SHEPHERD. Ay, Mr Tickler's unco sleepry, an' Mr De Quinshy's aye pittin' his haun'ower the moo' that poors oot sic a wunnerfu’ blatter o' words.
We must not disperse, gentlemen, without drinking the toast of Maga. Her history is a glorious one. Long may she flourish, and may she ever be true to her old traditions !
OMNES. To Maga! Maga for ever! No heeltaps ! Huzza ! Huzza ! Huzza !
[All drink a bumper. GURNEY steals out from the ear
of Dionysius, surreptitiously drinks the toast, and slips back again. Cheers from behind the door, where PICARDY and his tail are dutifully assembled.
SHEPHERD. Aweel, a' gude things maun hae an end. We hae had a glorious crack, gentlemen, an' I think the least we can dae is to send this Noctes to the Yeditor, auld Ebony's oe. Gude send he disna pit it intil the Balaam-box! But he'll surely no' daur hanle the likes o' huz wi' sae muckle inciveelity. Gude nicht to ye, Mr North. Ye'll be for Moray Place? Gude nicht, Mr Tickler; gude nicht, Mr De Quinshy.
OMNES. Good night! good night! gude nicht!
[Exeunt omnes, and sic transeunt Noctes.
THE HEART OF DARKNESS.
BY JOSEPH CONRAD.
THE “Nellie," a cruising yawl, there in the luminous estuary, swung to her anchor without a but behind him, within the flutter of the sails, and was at brooding gloom. rest. The flood had made, the Between us there was, as I wind was nearly calm, and have already said somewhere, being bound down the river, the bond of the sea. Besides the only thing for us was to holding our hearts together come to and wait for the turn through long periods of separof the tide.
ation, it had the effect of The sea-reach of the Thames making us tolerant of each stretched before us like the other's yarns — and even conbeginning of an interminable victions. The Lawyer — the waterway. In the offing the
In the offing the best of old fellows — had, besea and the sky were welded to cause of his many years and gether without a joint, and in many virtues, the only cushion the luminous space the tanned on deck, and was lying on the sails of the barges drifting up only rug. The Accountant had with the tide seemed to stand brought out already a box of still in red clusters of canvas dominoes, and was toying archisharply peaked, with gleams tecturally with the bones. Marof varnished sprits. A hazelow sat cross-legged right aft, rested on the low shores that leaning against the mizzenran out to sea in vanishing mast. He had sunken cheeks, flatness. The air was dark a yellow complexion, a straight above Gravesend, and farther back, an ascetic aspect, and, back still seemed condensed with his arms dropped, the into a mournful gloom, brood- palms of hands outwards, reing motionless over the biggest, sembled an idol. The Direcand the greatest, town tor, satisfied the anchor had earth.
good hold, made his way aft The Director of Companies and sat down amongst us.
We was our captain and our host. exchanged a few words lazily. We four affectionately watched Afterwards there was silence his back as he stood in the on board the yacht. For some bows looking to seaward. On reason or other we did not the whole river there was noth begin that game of dominoes. ing that looked half so nautical. We felt meditative, and fit for He resembled a pilot, which to nothing but placid staring.
seaman is trustworthiness The day was ending in personified. It was difficult to serenity that had a still and realise his work was not out exquisite brilliance. The water
1 Copyright, 1899, by S. S. M'Clure Co., in the United States of America.
shone pacifically; the sky, with- battles of the It had out a speck, was a benign im- known and served all the men mensity of unstained light; the of whom the nation is proud, very mist on the Essex marshes from Sir Francis Drake to Sir was like a gauzy and radiant John Franklin, knights all, fabric, hung from the wooded titled and untitled—the great rises inland, and draping the knights - errant of the sea. It low shores in diaphanous folds. had borne all the ships whose Only the gloom to the west, names are like jewels flashing brooding over the upper reaches, in the night of time, from the became more sombre every
min “Golden Hind" returning with ute, as if angered by the ap- her round flanks full of treasure, proach of the sun.
to be visited by the Queen's And at last, in its curved and Highness and thus pass out of imperceptible fall, the sun sank the gigantic tale, to the “Erelow, and from glowing white bus and “Terror,” bound on changed to a dull red without other conquests—and that never rays and without heat, as if returned. It had known the about to go out suddenly, ships and the men. They sailed stricken to death by the touch from Deptford, from Greenwich, of that gloom brooding over a from Erith, the adventurers crowd of men.
and the settlers; kings' ships Forthwith a change came and
and the ships of over the waters, and the seren- 'Change; captains, admirals, the ity became less brilliant but dark “interlopers” of the Eastmore profound. The old river ern trade, and the commissioned in its broad reach rested un "generals" of East India fleets. ruffled at the decline of day, Hunters for gold or pursuers of after ages of good service done fame, they all had gone out on to the race that peopled its that stream, bearing the sword, banks, spread out in the tran- and often the torch, messenquil dignity of a waterway lead- gers of the might within the ing to the uttermost ends of the land, bearers of a spark from earth. We looked at the vener the sacred fire. What greatable stream not in the vivid ness had not floated on the ebb flush of a short day that comes of that river into the mystery and departs for ever, but in of unknown earth?—the the pacific yet august light of dreams of men, the seed of comabiding memories. And in- monwealths, the germs of emdeed nothing is easier for a pires. man who has, as the phrase The sun set; the dusk fell on goes,
“ followed the sea with the stream, and lights began to reverence and affection, than to appear along the shore. The evoke the great spirit of the Chapman lighthouse, a threepast
upon the lower reaches of legged thing erect on a mudthe Thames. The tidal current flat, shone strongly. Lights of runs to and fro in its unceasing ships moved in the fairway-a service, crowded with memories great stir of lights going up and of men and ships it had borne going down. And farther west to the rest of home or to the on the upper reaches the place
of the monstrous town was still brings out a haze, in the likemarked ominously on the sky, ness of one of these misty halos a brooding gloom in sunshine, a that sometimes are made visible lurid glare under the stars. by the spectral illumination of
“And this also,” said Mar- moonshine. low suddenly,“ has been one His uncalled-for remark did of the dark places of the not seem at all surprising. It earth.”
was just like Marlow. It was He was the only man of us accepted in silence. who still “ followed the sea. took the trouble to grunt even ; The worst that could be said of and presently he said, very him was that he did not repre- slow,sent his class. He was a seaman, “I was thinking of very old but he was
a wanderer too, times, when the Romans first while most seamen lead, if one came here, nineteen hundred may so express it, a sedentary years ago—the other day. . life. Their minds are of the Light came out of this river stay-at-home order, and their since—you say Knights? Yes; home is always with them—the but it is like a running blaze on ship; and so is their country- a plain, like a flash of lightthe sea.
One ship is very much ning in the clouds. We live in like another, and the sea is al
sea is al- the flicker—may it last as long ways
the same. In the immuta as the old earth keeps rolling ! bility of their surroundings the But darkness was here yesterforeign shores, the foreign faces, day. Imagine the feelings of a the changing immensity of life, commander of a fine—what d'ye glide past, veiled not by a sense call 'em ?—trireme in the Mediof mystery but by a slightly terranean, ordered suddenly to disdainful ignorance; for there the north ; run overland across is nothing mysterious to a sea the Gauls in a hurry; put in man unless it be the sea itself, charge of one of these craft the which is the mistress of his legionaries,-a wonderful lot of existence and as inscrutable as handy men they must have been Destiny. For the rest, after his too—used to build, apparently hours of work a casual stroll or by the hundred, in a month or a casual spree on shore suffices two, if we may believe what we to unfold for him the secret of a read. Imagine him here—the whole continent, and generally very end of the world, a sea the he finds the secret not worth colour of lead, a sky the colour knowing. The yarns of seamen of smoke, a kind of ship about have a direct simplicity, the as rigid as a concertina—and whole meaning of which lies going up this river with stores, within the shell of a cracked or orders, or what you
like. nut. But Marlow was not Sandbanks, marshes, forests, typical (if his propensity to spin savages,—precious little to eat yarns be excepted), and to him fit for a civilised man, nothing the meaning of an episode was but Thames water to drink. not inside like a kernel but out- No Falernian wine here, no side, enveloping the tale which going ashore. Here and there brought it out only as a glow a military camp lost in a wilder